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Scare Tactics (2003)
Please understand, I am not bashing the show. It would be a great idea if the underlying premise were true: real victims scared out of their wits by a team of pranksters.
But is it real?
The "victims" are indeed actors who are also in on the prank...and thus are never scared or surprised (you can check IMDb and confirm this).
If the victims of each prank were just ordinary people, why then do they not see the three large cameras taking multiple moving shots at different angles in the room in HD (1080p) quality? Why can they not see the boom microphone over their head to capture stereo sound? (a hidden condenser mic wouldn't be capable of capturing broadcast quality sound)
The most amazing facet of this program is how the the die-hard fans cannot differentiate between a scripted, staged production and actual reality.
Too Much Meandering, but Watchable
I found Heroes watchable. This means I wouldn't cringe at every turn from bad acting/writing/directing. It was a refreshing change.
The problem with Heroes was that the plot never fully developed. Each season finale seemed like a bid for a new season rather than an important storyline.
When I heard the announcement that Heroes was canceled, it didn't surprise me. I lost interest during the first season, but still purchased the DVD sets.
It seems as though the writers exhausted their ideas in season 1. Each subsequent season was recycling elements of the last.
How many ways can you tell the story of humans discovering they have amazing powers? Viewers lose interest if it's the same stuff over and over.
I like the idea of Heroes, but it could have been produced/directed much better.
Birds of Prey (2002)
Fair, for Cheese TV
Costumes: Fair to Poor - Nothing original or extraordinary. Helena/Huntress bustier boob squishers, port-hole tops (Ahoy mateys!), and leather fetish outfits which seem to be the modern equivalent of spandex
CGI/SPFX: Fair to Good - gravity-defying jumping, animated iris mods, computer interfaces, chroma-key backgrounds, etc.
Set Design & Filming: Exceptional detail, lighting, and intricacy with a considerable budget involved, yet realism is exchanged for a cartoonish ambiance
Location: Filmed entirely on the WB Studio Facilities...feels very synthetic. Perhaps this was the intent...to create a comic-book feel.
At times it seemed as cheesy as Power Rangers, but had some serious moments.
The final scene of each episode was predictable: All is well, corny anecdotes, good-guy (gal) comradery and witticisms, a Kumbayah segment at each episode end.
Overall impression: Not bad, but cannot compare to Smallville. I'm totally OK with the concept of retelling comic stories, embellishing the characters, histories, and plot. I'm not a die hard comic fan and can care less about the "Golden Age Huntress" inaccuracies, etc. etc. I like good entertainment as well as most people, yet this series isn't geared toward the average TV viewer. Most folks who are into DC comics will either like it or hate it because of the gross inaccuracies.
Babylon 5 (1994)
Fair, but has issues
I'm a long-time science fiction fan who values quality writing, quality acting and originality above and beyond "special effects". Though the Amiga CGI was relatively smooth for its time, and the budget was enormous, B5 falls short.
Watching B5 was difficult and I found myself cringing at just about every turn because of unconvincing script writing and hokey/corny acting. You would think with the astronomical budget, B5 producers could have hired better script writers and paid for acting lessons for the cast...but no.
The acting seems very forced and pretentious, unlike many (not all) of the Star Trek franchise actors and Galactica actors. The depth and complexity of characters and acting capability I would expect from such a high-budget series is missing from B5...woefully inadequate.
Additionally, the gaffers and cameramen seem like they just graduated from 2-year film school. The panning, cutting, framing, focus, and shot timing is very low quality.
Again, the acting is B-level, schlock, and laughable. I get embarrassed watching their pathetic attempts to be convincing in their portrayals.
Overall, B5 is a great idea - and I love watching science fiction - so, I haven't given up on watching it, and I purchased the DVDs. It's not that bad - it's just offensive for those of us who love Shakespearean methodologies.
If you appreciate compelling character development, natural (not forced) dialog, and cutting-edge actors employing classic methodologies, then B5 is not for you. Otherwise, if you're easily entertained, then you'll love B5. Those who appreciate the "Kyoo-Kyoo-Kyoo" laser blasts, "Ka- BLAMM-O" space explosions, and latex-rubber slimy-head aliens will like B5.
The "Firefly" series by Joss Whedon, and the follow-up movie "Serenity" is in my opinion, the best science fiction television has produced in decades.